Evaluations and case studies of the CI law-reform methodology

Getting research into policy and practice is a main objective of the Children's Institute. This project therefore over several years recorded the story of the Institute's involvement in policy and law-reform processes, together with analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the advocacy methodology used in each process. The information gained from each evaluation or case study fed into new projects and communicated to national and international audiences through publications and occasional seminars.

The Institute's involvement in national policy and law-drafting processes include:

  • Assistance to government decision-makers on drafting policies, providing evidence and advice, and making formal input on draft policies or laws.

  • Support to civil society by providing research evidence, assisting with communication and advocacy infrastructure and strategies, and training on rights-based advocacy methods.

  • Generating research evidence to include in Children's Institute input − formal and informally − on draft laws and policies.

  • Examples of contributions to national policy and law-making processes:

  • Initiating national policy processes (for example, the Policy Guidelines for Children Experiencing or at Risk of Orphanhood, National Policy on Chronic Diseases).

  • Receiving commissions from the government to draft national policies (for example the National School Health Care Policy Guidelines).

  • Advising the national government on policy and law reform (social security policy reform, Social Assistance Act and regulations, Children's Bill).

  • Participating in formal opportunities for public input such as parliamentary public hearings and calls for comments by the Executive (Children's Bill, National Health Bill, Firearms Control Bill, Social Assistance Bill).

  • Supporting, participating in and advising social movements aimed policy and law reforms that will benefit children (Treatment Action Campaign, Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security, Children's HIV/AIDS Network, and the Social Service Practitioners Advocacy Network).

The stories of some of the Institute’s involvement in law-reform processes have been captured in a series of case studies, which in some instances drew on formal evaluations of processes :

  • Firearms Control Act: This case study captures the participation of the Child Health Policy Institute (CHPI – the predecessor of the Children's Institute) in a law-reform process aimed at reducing firearm injuries and deaths.

  • Children's Bill: This case study describes the work of the Children’s Bill Working Group disability sub-sector, which secured new clauses in the Children’s Act that will make a real difference for children with disabilities.

  • Child participation: Published as a chapter in A Handbook of Children's Participation (Routledge, 2009), this case study records and analyses the Institute’s Dikwankwetla - Children in Action Project, which facilitated children’s input on the drafting of the Children's Bill.

  • Formulating and implementing socio-economic policies for children in the context of HIV/AIDS: The Institute partnered with the Community Agency for Social Enquiry to publish this research paper on the formulation and implementation of socio-economic policies for children in the context of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The case studies in the paper describe the debates and interventions related to the Children's Bill, the Foster Child Grant and the Child Support Grant.

This project has been funded by the Children's Institute core donors − Atlantic Philanthropies and the ELMA Foundation.

Project team: Paula Proudlock, Lucy Jamieson, Charmaine Smith

Further reading

Lessons learned from the campaign to expand the Child Support Grant in South Africa
Proudlock P 2011
In: Handa S, Devereux S & Webb D (eds) Social Protection for Africa’s Children. United Kingdom: Routledge.

From sidelines to centre stage: The inclusion of children with disabilities in the Children's Act
Jamieson L & Proudlock P 2009
A Children's Institute Case Study, Number 4, October 2009.

Developing social policy for children in the context of HIV/AIDS: A South African case study
Budlender D, Proudlock P & Jamieson L 2008
A Children's Institute Case Study, Number 3, December 2008.
Children's Institute & Community Agency for Social Enquiry

Formulating and implementing socio-economic policies for children in the context of HIV/AIDS: A South African case study
Budlender D, Proudlock P & Jamieson L 2008
In: De Waal A, Edström J & Mamdani M (2008) Children, AIDS and Development Policy. IDS Bulletin 39(5), November 2008. Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, United Kingdom.

From fieldwork to facts to firearms Control: Research and advocacy toward stricter firearms control legislation in South Africa
Shung-King M, Proudlock P & Michelson L 2008
In: Chaskin, RJ & Rosenfeld JM (eds). Research for Action: Cross-National Perspectives on Connecting Knowledge, Policy, and Practice for Children. New York: Oxford University Press

The ebb and flow of child health policy development in South Africa: Three case studies reflecting the role of the CI in shaping child health policy in South Africa
Shung-King M, December 2006
Children’s Institute case study number 2.

From fieldwork to facts to firearms control. Research and advocacy towards firearm control legislation in South Africa: A case study
Shung-King M, Proudlock P & Michelson L August 2005
Children's Institute case study number 1.

Checklist for sub-group law-reform advocacy
Lucy Jamieson August 2005